Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Amendment bill passed

The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill has been passed in the Parliament, today (08).

The bill, which seeks to amend Act No: 25 of 2002, was passed with 95 parliamentarians voting in favour while 31 voted against it.

The bill was published in the government gazette on May 18 and presented to the Parliament by the Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms on June 05, 2018.

The Adjourned debate on the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill was held this morning. The vote on the bill was scheduled for yesterday (07), but had been postponed to today.

Joint Opposition MPs had requested not to take the vote on the bill today as MPs had faced difficulties in reaching the Parliamentary Complex due to the protest by Samurdhi officers. However, the Speaker has turned down the request, Ada Derana reporter said.

During the vote on the bill, MPs representing the Joint Opposition including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had voted against it.

Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition have previously criticized the Bill to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, No. 25 of 2002.

The former President had claimed that the amendments proposed to the Act are clearly aimed at assisting foreign courts in the trial of Sri Lankans for offences allegedly committed in Sri Lanka.

The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, No.25 of 2002 provides for combating trans national crimes and strengthening the prevention of crimes or internal investigation and confiscating the crimes proceeds.

Approval of the Cabinet was granted to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, No.25 of 2002, for identifying the offences relating to Money Laundering and the necessity of criminalizing the offences related to bribery outlined in Article 16 of the Convention of the United Nations against Bribery and Corruption and the recent developments pertaining to computer systems and data related criminal offences, reflecting the international obligations of Sri Lanka in the present context.

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